Sunday, January 4, 2004

1 dead, dozen hurt in collision

By Marie McCain
The Cincinnati Enquirer

ELROD, Ind. - A 25-year-old North Vernon, Ind., woman was killed and more than a dozen other Indiana residents injured Saturday afternoon in a head-on collision along U.S. 50.

Dead is Jennifer K. Penegar, police said.

Ripley County Sheriff's officials said Penegar was the driver of a pickup truck that crossed the center lane about 4:45 p.m. and struck an oncoming tour bus carrying 17 people from Indianapolis. The bus was headed to Indianapolis from Grand Victoria Casino in Rising Sun.

U.S. 50 was closed shortly after the accident and remained closed as of 9 p.m. Saturday.

Ripley County Sheriff's Capt. David Pippin said about a dozen people from the bus were taken to Batesville and Dearborn County hospitals with injuries that were not life-threatening.

Also taken to the hospital was a female passenger in Penegar's truck, Pippin said. He did not have the woman's name or condition, but said she appeared to be in her mid-20s.

A passenger on the bus, operated by Spellbound Tours of Indianapolis, said the bus driver swerved to the right before the accident in an attempt to avoid the pickup truck. The passenger, James Hawkins of Indianapolis, said bus passengers had been at the casino.

The crash occurred in rural Ripley County near Elrod, which is about 45 miles west of Cincinnati.

Hawkins and four other passengers were waiting Saturday night to be taken to area hospitals to meet up with the others who were on the bus. His wife, Blossom, was among the injured, he said.

Pippin said the bus driver suffered injuries to his lower body and legs.


E-mail Enquirer reporter Liz Oakes contributed.

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